The GOP is a dead party. Even putting “party” in it’s name seems to be an oxymoron…emphasis on moron.
This convention proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the GOP is essentially DOA. Ironically, the only entity that keeps this organization on life support is the very media that the party continues to complain about for their poor portrayal in the minds of the masses.
The 2012 RNC gave the uncanny sensation that we were watching some nightmarish amalgamation of The Andy Griffith Show or Leave to Beaver, replete with excessive hair gel, stringed pearls, hee-haw entertainment interludes and stale one-liners that would make Eddie Haskell blush.
And while we were near blinded by the sea of White faces donning red, white and blue, the RNC was insistent that they were a party of inclusivity…trotting out as many Black and Brown faces as would be willing to stand on their hateful platform without being struck down by their foremothers and forefathers and without completely riling up their gun-toting, Confederate flag waving nut-jobs on the radical right. So we watched a parade of double-chinned White men, with a “Condie” here and a “Marco” there…all while listening to the soundtrack of second rate salsa. This veneer of inclusion was meant to fool us…but not be quite believable enough to completely cloud the underlying rhetoric of the party’s platform…”We will be the party that holds on to power and resources for a shrinking pool of White men, while handing out pats on the head to those ‘minorities’ who advance our agenda.”
But most of us can tell veneer when we see it. Veneer cracks and peels and ultimately shows itself for what it really is…an attempt to cheaply glue on a false front. The vast majority of people of color…most of whom have become quite adept at identifying a front…are not easily fooled. We know an “Uncle” Arthur when we see one; we recognize the difference between a Condie Rice and a Connie Rice, between a Marco Rubio and a Marco Arana, and between Gloria Estefan and Gloria Anzaldua. We know that Clint Eastwood has always represented White male domination, and that the thugs who he is goading to “make his day” happen to be the same color as the imaginary person sitting in that empty chair…and so do the vast majority of his party compatriots. We see the lips of speakers, delegates and Fox news “journalists” quiver when they are forced to put the word “President” in front of Obama’s name.
In stark contrast, the Democratic bench was DEEP. Remember, this is the party that elected the first Black President…and we’re not talking about some nerdy, brown-skinned White man. No, the Dems elected a real Brother…one with swagger, a jump shot, and a stroll, one who effortlessly makes every Black woman’s heart melt when he opens an address with a little Al Green, who earns major dap from the Brothers for big upping Jay-Z on the regular, and who arouses the spirits of his audience like COGIC pastor. And it’s not just the President that the DNC elected and nominated, the appearance of diversity is at every level. The Convention was chaired by Mr. Charisma himself, Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who, until his affair with a journalist that destroyed his 20 year marriage, was presumed to be our first Latino President…or at least California Governor. To double our pleasure, the keynote was delivered by the 37 year old mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, who was introduced by his twin brother…Joaquin, a Congressional candidate. And we could go on…There was CA Representative Karen Bass, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Iraqi war veteran and Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth, Governor Deval Patrick…and the star of the show…First Lady, Michelle Obama, who brought the house down with her power, grace, brilliance and beauty. So, the Dems are the real thing right??? No veneer here? That level of representation is hard wood…No front, right?
Not so fast…somewhere between veneer and the real deal is engineered wood…you know, plywood and the like. With plywood, veneers — or fronts — are simply layered on top of one another to create a thicker and more durable product. Very rarely will plywood crack and peel…and for many purposes, plywood is fully functional. However, it is important to remember that when one delves more deeply, even plywood is a front.
So, while the Dems are inclusive, have far better music and can host a party that will make you dance until you sweat, is such a level of inclusion enough? When we examine the substance of the party, the planks of the platform, and the policies pursued, are they really ones that empower the masses of people across race and class? What plans are there for a real jobs program…one that creates jobs, rather than simply providing incentives to private-sector businesses? What steps have been taken to curb the prison industrial complex that targets and criminalizes Black and Brown men…and increasingly, women? What improvements to the Black infant mortality rate have we seen under President Obama? What attempts at substantive educational reform have been advanced where students are treated as engaged thinkers rather than repositories of, often trivial and biased, information?
And while our eyes welled with tears as the First Lady described the incredible example of Black manhood that her father embodied and our chests swelled with pride as OUR President challenged us to pursue a bolder, more hopeful vision, we must call out a front when we see one. We must push for hardwood…for something solid, and thorough, and true. The veneer that the Republicans presented is a pitiful front, but the Democrats must also do better if they are to win, not simply reluctant votes, but enthusiastic support. Offering up a pretty finish is not inclusion…For it to be real, it has to be in the organic make up. As the late Hip Hop prophet MC Breed profoundly proclaimed, “Ain’t no future in yo’ frontin’!”